TN Politics: Rep. Mark White Proposes End to Democratically Elected School Board in Memphis
This week, Rep. Mark White, a Republican from East Memphis and Bartlett, said he would use the power of state government to stack the elected nine-member Memphis-Shelby County Schools Board with up to six additional members appointed by Tennessee's Republican governor.
It would create a unique test case for state Republicans seeking to add party members to other areas of local government where they are unable to win office. For the moment, White says the appointments would only apply to low-performing school districts, but only Memphis-Shelby County Schools would be affected.
Political analyst Otis Sanford calls the move a "power play" and questions the motives of White, who previously used the Republican supermajority legislature to transfer four well-performing MSCS schools to other school districts in order to make them more exclusive to the white and affluent communities they serve, and Gov. Bill Lee, who is now pushing for private school students and homeschoolers to get taxpayer handouts of $7,000 per semester while some public schools notably receive less than that amount per student each year.
In addition, Sanford discusses his change of heart on a study of the Shelby County Court system by the former Memphis Mayor.